US space firm SpaceX’s next cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS), scheduled to launch in December, will employ a preflown Dragon capsule, the media reported. The Dragon cargo spacecraft, which was flown on SpaceX’s sixth commercial resupply mission to station for NASA, will launch the CRS-13 resupply mission flight on a Falcon 9 rocket. The lift-off will also mark the return to service of Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, which has been out of service since September 2016 when a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket exploded there during a routine prelaunch test, reported space.com. SpaceX has been making contracted ISS resupply runs for NASA using Dragon and the Falcon 9 for five years. The upcoming launch will be the 13th such mission for the company.
The CRS-13 mission will carry a number of interesting payloads, including a NASA instrument designed to measure how much energy the sun delivers to Earth and a machine that will produce ZBLAN optical fiber on orbit, the report said. The Dragon cargo spacecraft comes back to Earth for soft, parachute-aided ocean splashdowns.